We are reaching back into our early 2012 archives to bring you an article on of one today’s most popular bridal flowers, the peony, from Sarah Winward.
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love peonies. I dare say peonies are the most sought after wedding flower, and for good reason. They are huge, they smell delicious, and they make everyone happy. Peonies are in the top price tier as far as wedding flowers go, but fortunately you only need a few to make your statement.
Their natural season is Spring to early Summer (usually April through mid-July). Because of the way the flower world works, this means that we get them October-December too because they are blooming in the southern hemisphere. We all wish that peonies stuck around all summer long, but they don’t. Sorry August brides-you can use garden roses as a similar option.
Here are short introductions to a few of my favorite varieties of peony. This is a general guideline to make you aware of some options, but keep in mind that they are a very seasonal flower and some of these varieties may be hard for your florist to get their hands on.
There are several variety of white peonies available, the most common being Gardenia and Duchess de Nemours. White peonies have such a classic beauty, they are beautiful in bouquets and vased arrangements. Keep these white varieties cool and out of the sun, the petals are fairly delicate.
The most popular soft pink peony is the Sarah Bernhardt. These have endless layers of petals, they are full, soft, and very fragrant. The buds often have darker pink stripes and remind me of ice cream scoops!
The coral charm peony is an absolute favorite of mine. They are large and hot pink when they first open, They last quite a while, and as they age they fade to a soft peach. These are excellent with bright spring and summer color palettes, and are beautiful with fall bronzes too.
The red charm is a champion peony. It is very strong as a fresh cut flower making it excellent for bouquets as it will last longer than most peonies out of water. Though beware, it is surprisingly heavy.
The Bartzella peony is a yellow tree peony that is very seasonal. It usually at its peak towards the end of peony season. These are giant blooms that open quickly. They are a soft lemony yellow, and are fairly delicate, probably best to keep these in vased arrangements.
Tree peonies are available in the spring and early summer with the other peonies, but we see a large influx of Japanese tree peonies in our fall. They grow very well in New Zealand and a lot of them are brought here in October and November. These only have one later of petals so their opening must be timed perfectly. Because they are a bit fickle, this means they will cost a bit more than most peonies.
They come in white, pink, and burgundy.
Thanks to Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers for a great article that has lasted the test of time!
Photography by: Sarah Winward . Jessica Peterson . Leo Patrone . Kate Osborne